Making safe costume decisions for your kids this Halloween

Children trick or treating along Main Street in Ellicott City on Halloween, 2021. (Courtesy Michelle Bonk)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for scares, but some costume shopping tips can make sure parents are only frightened on Halloween night for the right reasons.



The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says the first tip to make sure costumes are “flame resistant,” is to check the tag to see if they’re made out of fabrics such as polyester and nylon.

Also when choosing a costume, even though the creature your kids wants to be may lurk in the shadows, opt for bright and reflective costumes. Reflective tape also can be used to make sure trick-or-treaters can be seen while filling their candy pails and bags at night.

Consider not choosing costumes with long, hanging parts because in the dark those can become tripping hazards.

While masks are cool, the FDA recommends instead choosing hats and makeup, since masks can make it hard to see, especially at night.

With makeup, it’s best not to test it the night of as some children can be allergic to the ingredients. In the days before putting on the costume, test a small amount of makeup on an arm or leg and make sure you don’t see a rash, swelling, or any other sign of an allergic reaction.

Do a little bit of homework on the makeup you choose. Make sure things like color additives are FDA approved. If they are not approved to be used in makeup, don’t use them, especially around the eyes.

Finally, colored contacts should be avoided unless they are provided by an eye-care professional along with instructions on how to correctly use them.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up